National Council on Strength & Fitness
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Sport Nutrition Specialist

Sport Nutrition Specialist Program


The Sport Nutrition Specialist (SNS) program is designed for career-oriented professionals looking to expand their knowledge and skills in a primary domain of the personal trainer profession.


The program takes an in-depth look at nutritional science and its application in competitive fitness and athletic performance. The latest evidence-based information is presented in a building block model to develop the competencies necessary of a skilled practitioner. This advanced program goes far beyond a standard nutrition course, enabling learners to:

Once you have spoken with an NCSF educational advisor, the organization will forward a complimentary set of Instructor Course Materials for curriculum review and use during the course. This FREE set of materials of course materials includes:
Sport Nutrition Specialist Textbook
The Textbook is the premier text available for up-to-date, evidence-based information. It provides in-depth content related to effective strategies for performance enhancement and includes a literary review of supplement efficacy and regulations.
Sport Nutrition Specialist Study Guide
The Study Guide is multifunctional; it provides the summary notes for the text and accompanying instructional DVDs in a lesson-by-lesson format along with Test Your Knowledge quizzes at the end of each section. The Study Guide is an integral component to successful completion of the program.
  • Interactive activities designed to aid in learner comprehension
  • Summary lesson notes and quizzes for quick test content reference
  • Answer key references to verify work
Sport Nutrition Specialist Instructional DVDs (two-disc set)
The DVDs provide a lesson-by-lesson review of the materials in an audio-visual experience that is both engaging and instructional. The two-disc DVD set complements the study guide, pre-recording all your notes and allowing for improved retention of the content.
  • Engaging content that interacts with the study guide lesson notes
  • Detailed instruction on the primary lesson learning objectives
  • User-friendly, high-end video instruction
Lesson Plan
The time consuming process of creating detailed lesson plans for a full semester course has been eliminated. The NCSF provides each instructor with a full semester of lesson plans. Conveniently segmented into 24 lessons, the plan dictates individual class lecture and discussion topics, reading assignments, , and recommended homework assignments. Reference pages are included for efficient teacher referral and effective lesson management.
Advanced Multimedia Presentations
The NCSF provides each instructor with a complete set of PowerPoint slides pre-formatted for each class lesson. Learning objectives are contained within the PowerPoint of each slide.
Practice Exam Questions
The instructor course materials include practice exam questions that can be used to create topic specific exams and quizzes. Created in simple Word format, the questions can be easily manipulated to create various styles of exams (essay, true or false, and multiple choice).
Course Syllabus
A course syllabus is ready for handout on the first day of class. Simply add your name, phone number, and office hours. It covers each and every class activity as illustrated by the course lesson plan. It can be manipulated as necessary to serve your individual needs.
Function of Nutrients
Vitamins, Minerals, and Trace Elements
Nutrients and Recommended Intakes
Essential Nutrients
Development of Recommended Intakes
Current Recommended Intakes
Practical Guidelines for a Balanced, Healthy Diet
Food Labels
Analyzing Dietary Intake
Fuel Sources for Muscle and Exercise Metabolism
Subcellular Skeletal Muscle Structure
Force Generation in Skeletal Muscle
Fiber Types
Energy for Muscle Force Generation
Fuel Stores in Skeletal Muscle
Regulation of Energy Metabolism
Metabolic Responses to Exercise
Metabolic Adaptations to Exercise Training
Energetic Efficiency
Measuring the Energy Content of Food
Measuring Energy Expenditure
Components of Energy Expenditure
Energy Balance
Gastric Emptying, Digestion, and Absorption
Anatomy of the Gastrointestinal Tract
Regulation of the Gastrointestinal Tract
Function of Bacteria in the Colon
Regulation of Gastric Emptying
Gastrointestinal Problems During and After Exercise
Role of Carbohydrate
Recommendations for Carbohydrate Intake
Carbohydrate Intake Days Before Competition
Carbohydrate Intake Hours Before Exercise
Carbohydrate Intake 30 to 60 Minutes Before Exercise
Carbohydrate During Exercise
Carbohydrate After Exercise
Fat Metabolism During Exercise
Limits to Fat Oxidation
Fat as a Fuel During Exercise
Regulation of Carbohydrate and Fat Metabolism
Fat Supplementation and Exercise
Effect of Diet on Fat Metabolism and Performance
Protein and Amino Acids
Amino Acids
Techniques to Study Protein and Amino Acid Metabolism
Protein Requirements for Exercise
Training and Protein Metabolism
Effect of Protein Intake on Protein Synthesis
Amino Acids as Ergogenic Aids
Protein Intake and Health Risks
Water Requirements and Fluid Balance
Thermoregulation and Exercise in the Heat
Effects of Dehydration on Exercise Performance
Mechanisms of Heat Illness
Effects of Fluid Intake on Exercise Performance
Daily Water Balance
Fluid Requirements for Athletes
Vitamins and Minerals
Water-Soluble and Fat-Soluble Vitamins
Recommended Intakes of Vitamins
Macrominerals and Microminerals
Recommended Intakes of Minerals
Critical Micronutrient Functions
Assessing Micronutrient Status
Exercise and Micronutrient Requirements
Ergogenic Effect of Micronutrient Supplementation
Recommendations for Micronutrient Intake in Athletes
Nutrition Supplements
Non-regulation of Nutrition Supplements
Critical Evaluation of Nutrition Supplements Studies
Contamination of Nutrition Supplements
Nutrition and Training Adaptations
Training Adaptations
Signal Transduction Pathways
Starting a Signaling Cascade
Secondary Signals
Nutrition Effects on Training Adaptations
Body Composition
Optimal Body Weight and Composition
Body Composition Models
Normal Ranges of Body Weight and Body Fat
Weight Management
Body Weight and Composition in Different Sports
Energy and Macronutrient Intake
Regulation of Appetite
Effect of Exercise on Appetite
Physical Activity and Energy Expenditure
Dietary Weight-Loss Methods
Exercise for Weight Loss
Decreased Resting Metabolic Rate With Weight Loss
Weight Cycling
Gender Differences in Weight Loss
Practicalities of Weight Loss for Athletes
Defining the Strategy
Eating Disorders in Athletes
Types of Eating Disorders
Prevalence of Eating Disorders in Athletes
Risk Factors
Effects of Eating Disorders on Sports Performance
Effects of Eating Disorders on the Athlete’s Health
Treatment and Prevention of Eating Disorders
Nutrition and Immune Function in Athletes
Functions of the Immune System and Its Cellular Components
General Mechanism of the Immune Response
Effects of Exercise on the Immune System
Nutritional Manipulations to Decrease Immunodepression in Athletes
Mechanisms of Nutritional Influences on Immune Function in Athletes
Conclusions and Recommendations
Two Convenient Testing Options:
NCSF Testing Centers
The NCSF provides its Certification exams at approximately 400 testing centers throughout North America offering convenient locations, on-demand scheduling, and the highest quality administration of computer-based examinations. Students can schedule an exam appointment for the date, time, and location of their choice. Results are provided immediately upon completion of the exam.
On-Campus Testing
Qualifying schools can add marketability to the program and convenience for the students by offering the exam on-campus. The NCSF will provide each school the necessary exam hosting and qualifying criteria and work with them every step along the way to successfully deliver this exam option.
While the educational course is available to all individuals, students must already be certified with an NCCA accredited personal trainer credential in good standing or hold a degree in exercise science or related field, or hold a REPs credential, level 3 or higher in order to be exam eligible for the NCSF-SNS Exam.

SNS Exam Content Breakdown:

Exam Sections:

Nutrients and Intakes11%

Physiological Aspects of Nutrition18%


Micronutrients and Supplementation17%

Nutrition and Physioligical Adaptions to Exercise20%

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